The Board of Regents and South Dakota State University in 1971 honored Warren L. Wright, 70, Rowena, South Dakota, who warned his future wife 43 years ago that he intended to “devote a lot of his life to helping youths.”
Mr. Wright’s early commitment to help youths “become helpful, useful and happy citizens” has involved him in numerous athletic, 4-H and Christian youth programs. Warren has been a 4-H leader in Minnehaha County for 31 years and a 4-H livestock superintendent at county 4-H Achievement Days for 36.
The Wrights started the Rowena Rustling Raiser mixed 4-H Club in 1935 and still lead the club (though they once dropped the leader roles for a few years). The Wrights’ two children, Dwaine, an insurance agent at Jeffers, Minnesota, and Larry, Brandon, South Dakota, buyer for John Morrell & Co., also were members of the Rowena Rustling Raisers 4-H club.
The Eminent Farmer from Rowena began helping youths as a college student, even though it was a financial struggle just to remain in school. During his junior college year—1925—he held four top area Young Men’s Christian Association offices. In addition to holding down a half dozen odd jobs, Wright found time to organize three “Hi-Y” clubs.
The Rowena area resident dropped out of school in the spring quarter of his senior year to help his father and brother on the farm in 1926.
After he was married, Wright refereed high school, college, YMCA and independent basketball for 15 years. In the 1940’s he organized and coached two boys’ teams, a girls’ team and a midget team in softball.
The 320-acre farm he operated in 1936 was the fourth in the country to sign up for a complete soil and moisture conservation program. His present 160-acre farm, which he bought in 1914, also was signed for a complete soil and moisture program. His farm was one of three which won the Greater South Dakota Association’s Soil and Moisture Conservation Contest for his district in 1947, the same year they won the four-state Soil and Moisture Conservation Contest at Sioux City. He has been a member of the Minnehaha Crop Improvement Association for 26 years, the American Hampshire Association for 20 years, and the American Shorthorn Breeders’ Association for 15 years. Mr. Wright received an award for 25 years of meritorious contribution and service at the Sioux Empire Fair in 1963.